Are There White Ants Eating Your Home?

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Are There White Ants Eating Your Home?

White AntsToday white ants or more correctly called termites, are a serious pest in Australia. They have the capacity to create thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in a matter of weeks or destroy an entire roof structure in as little as three months.

There is really no end to the destruction that they can cause and for the untrained eye these pests may go undetected for months before the damage that they have done has been discovered.

Call our team today 0407 065 413 for a friendly chat on concerns you may have about white ants.

Removing the roof and re-building the roof structure of a home is a very costly affair, and if damage has also occurred to the walls or floor of the home, the repair cost would be astronomical. And what a lot of people are unaware of is that their insurance policy doesn’t cover termite damage as this is deemed preventable!

Funnily enough white ants aren’t actually ants at all. They’re more closely related to cockroaches however, because they look like little pale coloured ants, many people refer to them as white ants. Whether you call them white ants or termites the amount of damage they can do remains the same.

How do you deter White Ants or Termites?

White ants present little evidence of their presence to the untrained eye. They eat through wood from the inside out so a colony of white ants can be busy at work without being seen.

There are many things you can do to help prevent these home eating pests from attacking your most valuable possession. Firstly, you can make your home less inviting as they are quite fussy when it comes to food and their environment.

Action plan of what you can do:

  • Ensure you don’t have vegetation growing up against your house
  • Keep the area under your home and your roof space well ventilated as termites and other pests like dampness and humidity
  • Repair leaks quickly they like to have a source of water too
  • If you use timber for structures or retaining walls in your garden, ensure you choose termite resistant timers, or timber that has been treated to deter termites.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is ensure that you have regular inspections to detect the presence of timber destroying pests in your home, or their activity level around your home. The CSIRO website suggests having an annual inspection and increasing that to twice a year if you live in a warm dry climate area in Australia that are more prone to termite activity.

Having a pest control expert visit your home annually is a small investment in your property against the type of damage a white ant or termite can do if left untreated.  The financial cost involved can be astronomical to restore and replace timbers and treat a property to get it back to a liveable state.  We suggest white ant prevention strategies, and treat any infestations early are less expensive ways to protect your home.

Pest Control

What is the first sign of termites?

Although it’s difficult to detect white ants in your home, you can look out for some hints to warn you.

The first sign of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites, also called swarmers or alates. Flying termites are the males and females who go out to find a mate and establish a new colony. That means an existing nest must be somewhere near or already in your home.

Aside from these winged creatures, you can also listen closely to your walls. Ever wonder what white ants sound like?

Those quiet clicking sounds coming from the walls often come from them.  

Different types of termite create a quite distinct sound. Soldier termites, when alerted of danger, shake their bodies or bang their heads against the wood. Wood termites, on the other hand, munch wood noisily. 

So the next time you doubt that white ants are present, put your ear close to any wood possibly infested by termites. 

A cool known fact about termites is that they love rock music! A study found out that these wood-eating termites work two times faster when they hear rock music. 

Another sign is papery or hollow sounding timber. Drywood termites eat wood from the inside out. When you knock or tap on wood suspected of termite damage, it should sound hollow or papery. That’s because the termites have already consumed most of the wood that you don’t see.

How quickly do white ants spread?

White ants work fast. It’s not a surprise that they can nest and create an infestation in a span of just a few days. 

Like other living creatures, these pests need food. They need cellulose-based materials that are often found in firewood, furniture, books, boxes and drywall coverings. Termites search for food on a constant basis and can spread up to 150 feet around their colony. 

White ants can really create serious damage very quickly. Without you even knowing it, they have already caused a damage that costs hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

So once you have detected or at least suspected the presence of termites, the usual reaction is for you to treat it right away. 

After all, who would want these termites to linger and cause more damage in your home?

Can I treat white ants myself?

Yes you can, although you have to be aware of some danger. 

Treating pests entails using chemicals to temporarily or permanently kill them. One must know how to handle these chemicals properly to ensure that no serious damage will happen. 

Although it is best advised that you get the help of pest control companies, there are some methods you can do on your own to get rid of white ants.

1. Use Termite Baits

Around the outside of a structure you suspect to be infested by termites, you can place a termite bait directly to the ground to attract them. Naturally, they will find the bait, feed on them and die. 

Baiting colonies of termites is simple. This can also be used to detect white ants especially if they are not yet posing a huge threat to the structure. 

2. Use Liquid Termite Insecticides

You may also use a liquid termite method that can give faster results. You have to apply the solution close to the infestation. If a termite infestation exists in your wall, that means drilling will be required to reach the termites. You will have to drill through concrete or a slab, then pump the volume of finished solution to set up a termite barrier. 

Although this method is difficult to do for untrained individuals, with proper guidance and observing precautions, this can still be done.

Non-repellent insecticides such as Taurus and Termidor are highly-recommended since they cannot be detected by termites. 

You just have to be extra careful since an acute or chronic exposure to some chemicals (e.g. cyclodienes) present in the liquid insecticides may cause central nervous system symptoms like headache, blurred vision, dizziness, tremors and seizures.

To be sure, it’s better to let the trained members of pest control companies you trust to do the job. 

How much does it cost to treat a house for White Ants or Termites?

Depending on the location, chemical used, insurance coverage and warranties applied, termite treatment costs around $330 to $5000 for an average size home.

Costs vary depending on the type of treatment to be applied.

  • Spray, dust or foam may cost between $330 and $660
  • Bait costs around $2500 to $3500 (this has to be repeated at a cost of around $800)
  • Soil treatment ranges from $2500 to $5000

Among all these, soil treatment is considered to be a long-lasting solution to keep these white ants away. Although it is undeniably costly, this does not need to be repeated frequently.

But there’s something you can do to avoid spending this much, or incurring more damage. 

A termite inspection is recommended for at least once a year, or more frequently if you are located in areas with a high termite risk. 

Is a termite inspection necessary?

Termites or white ants, as you have already known, are serious pests. They may be small insects but the damage they can cause can reach an average of $5 billion each year. 

Annual termite inspections are necessary for early detection of any termite activity. By doing this, you can avoid potential large-scale damage or repair.

Why do I need a termite inspection?

Termites can cause small to serious problems in your home, but detecting their presence is not easy. These pests eat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – in a short span of time, they can be eating a huge part of your floors or walls. 

Getting the services of a pest control expert can help a lot.

What areas must be inspected?

When you decide to get a termite inspection, take note of these 5 key areas that must be examined.

  1. Inside the house – all rooms must be inspected, including the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room, especially in areas with high moisture
  2. Sub-floor – if there is a subfloor or basement, all corners must be checked including supporting structures, the drainage and the flooring timbers
  3. Outside the house – entry points for termites must be inspected, as well as the level of soil or any other object blocking potential entry points, and if sprinklers, leaks or damage cause high moisture levels
  4. Area surrounding the property – since most termites nest in soil because of moisture, checking the area around your property including trees, timber walls or fences is necessary
  5. Roofing – every area in your roof space must be inspected, just make sure that electricity is turned off when doing this to guarantee safety

By inspecting these crucial areas, you can make sure that no white ants can escape so easily. Once the area of infestation is identified, you can then focus on where treatment should be applied. 

As soon as you decide to have your place treated for termite infestation, and whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a pest control company, there are some safety measures that you should keep in mind.

Do I need to leave the house for pest control?

Nowadays, modern pest control sprays are generally safe to use for indoors and outdoors. It is not really needed for you to leave the house when pest control is being done.

However, pest control technicians would request you to leave or stay outside for at least 15 to 30 minutes to let the treatment dry first, depending on the weather. 

Pregnant women (especially those in their 1st or 3rd trimester) and people with respiratory ailments may stay out longer.

Wait for the technician to give you the heads-up if it’s already safe to re-enter your home. Remember not to bring kids or pets until you’re done cleaning.

How do you clean your house after pest control?

Whether they are white ants or other pests that are being treated, you need to know how to clean your house properly.

The technician will point out areas that you need to exclude, like along baseboards, to ensure that there is no interruption to ongoing pest deterrence.

Be patient since there’s a huge chance that a couple of weeks after the treatment, you might find dead termites or a few live ones, too. Vacuum or sweep them up, and dispose of them in a trash bin. 

If the presence of live termites becomes alarming, contact your pest control technician if another treatment is necessary. 

Getting Ready to Clean

Once the pest control team gives you the go-signal to start cleaning, gather your cleaning supplies and get started!

Cleaning items needed:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Dish soap or cleaning liquid
  • Bucket of water
  • Cleaning rags or sponges
  • Mop
  • Laundry baskets
  • Trash bags
  • Vacuum
  • Steam cleaner

Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves. A thin film of pesticides could remain on surfaces, and they can be absorbed by your skin while cleaning.

Fill the bucket with water and add a small amount of dish soap or cleaning liquid. Once the water gets murky, refill the water. Take note not to clean with dirty water as you will just be putting chemicals back on the surfaces you clean.

What areas should I clean after pest control?

Floors, furniture, windows and walls, kitchen, closets and cupboards as well as fixtures and appliances should be cleaned thoroughly. 

What’s the proper way to clean each of them? 

Considering that certain chemicals have been applied to treat the presence of white ants in your home, our usual cleaning routine must be levelled up. 

Floors

You must be advised not to clean too close to the wall to create a pest barrier. Sweep or vacuum the floor, and make sure to go under the furniture and along walls. Do not forget to vacuum carpeted surfaces, too.

Furniture

Ideally, you should cover the furniture before doing the pest control. If you didn’t cover them, or had them treated as well, you must vacuum and steam clean upholstered furniture and mattresses. Loose clothes in the furniture or closets should be washed. 

Using the crevice tool found in most vacuums, attach the vacuum hose so you can get into the crevices of certain furniture.

Windows and Walls

Clean window panes and walls with a rag. A good way to wash the wall is by spraying the cleaner solution on the wall and running a squeegee down the wall to get rid of the chemical. Place an old towel at the bottom of the wall to catch the drips. 

After cleaning, ditch the towel away or wash it together with the other items used during the pest treatment.

Closets and Cupboards

Loose items in your closet or cupboard, such as grooming products, must be wiped clean. Also, wash uncovered towels, blankets and sheets.

Kitchen

As you prepare food in this area, one of the crucial parts that need to be cleaned thoroughly is your kitchen. Any food in open packages or unsealed containers like cereal boxes and baking supplies should be thrown away since the chemical permeates the wrappers. 

Rewash all dishes, especially those uncovered. Scrub countertops, pans, utensils and pots. All garbage must be disposed of outside of your house, too. 

Once you’re done cleaning, food items can be put back into the cupboards. 

Fixtures and Appliance

Among those that are often overlooked when cleaning the house are the lighting fixtures, plumbing tabs, vents and appliances. Leaky faucets or pipes must also be repaired immediately as some pests might go to the water to survive.

Remember that these pests love moist and damp places. Don’t give them a new place to build their colony. Or else, your pest problems will take forever to resolve.

Giving your house a weekly clean will actually help eliminate and prevent pests from coming back. Make it a habit to keep your house squeaky clean.

Looking at all the trouble applying pest control in your place could give, one would likely ask this question. 

How often should white ants be treated?

Every month? Every year? 

Not really. 

Frankly speaking, you only need treatment when there is a presence of white ants or termites. Termite control is usually done once and it could last from 6 to 13 years. However, a yearly inspection is necessary to prevent termites from infesting your home again. 

What pest control service should I contact?

There are plenty of pest control services in Australia that you could call. It is important that you get the services of a company that you can surely trust. Apart from that, consider if they use chemicals that are eco- and pet-friendly in treating pests in your home. 

A low price doesn’t always mean it is a good choice. So, go for pest control companies that offer a reasonable price for the quality of service that they offer.

Don’t let white ants or termites keep on ruining your place. Treat them right before the damage gets worse.

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White ants are a pretty serious problem, contact us today for your pest control needs!

Need help identifying termites?

Call A1 Pest Control Canberra today for a consultation and to schedule an inspection of your property.

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